Local electronic pop trio Croatia have started to create a buzz in Victoria; we caught up with them after their set with Vancouver's Gang Signs one fine evening backstage at Lucky Bar.
Who is Croatia?
I'm Matt Dell, I'm the keyboard player and guitar player.
I'm Steve, I play keyboard and program stuff.
I'm Tashiina and I sing.
How was your first time playing at a larger venue like Lucky Bar?
Matt: It's different from the Copper Owl; it's so intimate there. Lucky Bar is a big stage and you're looking down on the crowd. Music is so emotional, it was up and down today, but yeah it was awesome. Tonight was awesome.
Tashiina: It was one of the first shows where we could really feed off the crowd’s energy, for me anyway. Having such a big crowd was crazy.
So how did the three of you meet and begin making music together?
Steve: Matt and I have been jamming on and off for about four years. We were basically just a recording project but eventually wanted to create a full band. Matt posted an ad on Craigslist and that’s how we found Tashiina.
So the name… why Croatia?
Matt: I'm half Croatian, but it kinda started off with jokes that Steve and I had over Croatian martial artists. We also didn't have a name for our first show and Tash liked it.
Tashiina: It was the one name that we could all agree on.
You guys have created a very heavy blissful electronic sound, how did you develop that together?
Matt: It was very natural. Steve and I enjoy writing on the keyboards. Our progression works well together.
Steve: We decided to put the guitars down and just write everything on keyboards. We did bring the guitars back into it eventually and it worked out well.
Would you consider Croatia a serious project or more of a fun creative outlet?
Steve: It started out as just a fun project, we didn't really think we were going to play shows. We just recorded and jammed for a year, but now that we have been getting shows it’s been working out well.
Matt: We want to keep that balance of serious and fun ‘cause if it gets too serious you don't have fun and if you aren't serious enough it can be tough to get shows.
Is the songwriting process a collaborative effort or is it solely Tashiina?
Tashiina: It's basically just me. I've been in bands for a long time; also I've been studying writing and English.
Where does a lot of your inspiration come from for your writing?
Tashiina: I guess in recent years I've gotten into writing urban poetry. I like to write about my generation, we're the last generation that can remember what life was like pre-internet.
Have any of you played in other local projects?
Matt: I use to play in a band called Kincaide and Steve played in The Vendors back in the day.
Any other bands from Victoria past or present that have left a lasting musical impression on you?
Tashiina: The Backhomes. The first time I saw them I was just like, yes!! I really like what Hansmole and Old Girl are doing as well, it's nice to have more women in the scene.
Matt: For me, early Hot Hot Heat. I like a lot of the stuff coming out of the scene today as well. Fountain. Germany Germany.
Let’s talk about the Victoria Music Scene. How do you feel about it? Does it treat you well? Is it something that you enjoy being a part of? Would you like to see change?
Steve: There are quite a few noise rock bands in Victoria and I think that's why we wanted to do something different. There are still tons of good bands and plenty of good noise rock bands.
Matt: There are a lot of great people in the scene. It is what you make it. There used to be a lot more jerks back in the day, but we haven't really met any assholes yet. Copper Owl has given a lot to the scene. Jro and Ranee are very supportive and have helped many bands like ourselves by giving us an amazing venue to perform at.
What's next for Croatia?
Matt: We are going to record an album fairly soon. We of course wanna keep playing shows but getting music out there is a priority for us for sure.